Jimmy Keane is a London-born English musician of Irish origin and a specialist piano accordion player. In addition to his solo career, in the 1980s he was part of the folk trio Moloney, O'Connell & Keane, then in ensemble Green Fields of America.[1][2] In the 1990s, he was in Aengus and formed the group bohola with Pat Broaders and Seán Cleland. He has recorded and produced a number of albums.

Jimmy Keane
BornLondon, England
GenresIrish folk, Contemporary
Instrument(s)Piano accordion
Years active1970s – present


Keane was born to Irish-speaking parents originating from Connemara and Kerry. His father Jimmy Keane was an old style sean-nós singer. Both of his parents encouraged him to take up Irish traditional music. Playing the piano accordion, he won five consecutive All-Ireland titles and many accolades. In the 1970s, he started his professional career with fellow All-Ireland fiddle champion Liz Carroll in Chicago and the duo was named All-Ireland Senior Duet Champion in 1975.

In the early 1980s, he joined with guitarist and singer-songwriter Robbie O'Connell and banjoist and singer Mick Moloney to form Moloney, O'Connell & Keane, releasing two albums: There Were Roses in 1985 (including the first recording of the iconic Irish song "There Were Roses" penned by the Irish folk singer-songwriter Tommy Sands and Kilkelly in 1987, including O'Connell's signature song "Kilkelly".

In the mid-1980s, he became part of the revamped Green Fields of America an ensemble which performs and promotes Irish traditional music in the United States with Mick Moloney, Robbie O'Connell, fiddler Eileen Ivers (from Riverdance), multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan (from Solas) and Donny & Eileen Golden, recording an album called The Green Fields of America: Live in Concert in 1989.

During the late 1980s, Keane collaborated with guitarist Dennis Cahill (of Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill fame).

In the mid-1990s, Keane and O'Connell formed the group Aengus and recorded All on a Christmas Morning for the RCA Victor label.

Keane founded the group bohola in 1999 with Pat Broaders (bouzouki, dord and vocal) and Seán Cleland (fiddle, viola). bohola released several albums on the Shanachie and bohola music labels, performing traditional Irish tunes and songs as well as more contemporarily composed tunes and songs of the same genre. The 2008 bohola release, Jimmy Keane & Pat Broaders was awarded "Celtic Album of the Year" from Just Plain Folks and "Vocal/Instrumental Album of the Year".

Keane won "Male Musician of the Year" from the Irish American News (2010), "Male Musician of the Decade" by Live Ireland and the Irish American News (2011).

Keane was also featured in the BBC TV series and compilation recording Bringing It All Back Home, and was featured on the soundtrack and recording for the PBS documentary Out of Ireland. He also co-wrote the soundtrack for the PBS documentary Irish Chicago.


  1. ^ New York Media, LLC (30 January 1995), New York Magazine, New York Media, LLC, pp. 99–
  2. ^ American Folk Music and Folklore Recordings: A Selected List, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress., 1984, pp. 171–

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